WASHINGTON, DC—According to a new Gallup study, done in conjunction with Lumina Foundation, Americans now overwhelmingly believe that college degrees are essential to addressing the employment and financial uncertainty facing our country. Top-level findings from the study are being shared today with national education leaders at a PDK International conference.

Read the poll results at Gallup.com »

“Even with the wild gyrations on Wall Street this summer, Americans still believe that the road to greater economic prosperity for themselves and our country comes through education,” said Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Postsecondary degree completion provides the best path forward for a brighter future.”

A 50-minute segment of the event featuring Lumina’s Jamie Merisotis and Dewayne Matthews, and Georgetown’s Tony Carnevale. You can also view the full 2-hour webcast of the event »

A summary of key study findings includes:

Americans agree that a degree is essential for a good job and financial security:

  • Ninety-five percent of respondents said that it is very or somewhat important for financial security. More women than men were likely to respond this way (77 percent vs. 64 percent).
  • Higher-income respondents were more likely than low-income respondents to respond that a degree or certificate is “very important” (82 percent vs. 64 percent).

Most Americans think that students get education beyond high school to earn more money:

  • Eighty-six percent of respondents indicated they went to college to earn more money or get a good job.
  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents ages 18-34 indicated the one reason students get education beyond high school is to earn more money, while only 47.5 percent of those 65 and older responded that way.

About half of Americans surveyed agree that people who obtain a college degree have a better chance of finding a quality job:

  • At a time when nearly nine in 10 Americans say it is a bad time to get a quality job, about half (47%) agree that people who have a college degree have a good chance of finding a quality job and 10% disagree.

A live webcast of the event will be available at Lumina Foundation’s homepage: www.luminafoundation.org.

Gallup conducted 1,001 interviews in English only from May 17-29, 2011, with a random sample of adults, aged 18 and older, residing in landline-telephone households, cell phone-only households, and cell phone-user households. Up to three calls were made to each household to reach an eligible respondent.

The data set was statistically adjusted (weighted) using the following variables: race/ethnicity, gender, education, and age as defined by the most recent data from the Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The final overall results are representative of the U.S. adult population.

The questionnaire was developed in consultation with representatives from Lumina Foundation and Gallup. All interviewing was supervised and conducted by Gallup’s full-time interviewing staff.

Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information on Lumina, visit: www.luminafoundation.org.

CONTACT: Lucia Anderson, Lumina Foundation, 317.951.5316, landerson@luminafoundation.org

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3 Responses to New Gallup poll finds that Americans view college degree completion as an essential tool for landing a good job and finding financial security

  1. Dear Lucia
    Nice to know Lumina .
    Wonderful goals
    Please inform me what this 60 % means. Is it 60 % of total population of 300 or so million or people in between ages 20- 65 or 15-65 pleae inform.

    I will show you how to achieve that mathematically without money and investment
    I have been educated by Caltech, Stanford and have the previlage of working with Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard for 5 years in Palo Alto. I know what I say .

  2. Shawne says:

    I enjoyed post.  It provided statistics that I was not aware of.  I agree with what was written.  What I have been hearing lately that having a bachelors degree is not enough these days.  the need for a masters of professional degree is the next phase towards being essential to to a good job and financial security in the future.

  3. Dear Ms. Anderson: PIQE’s mission is to connect parents, schools and the community to advance the education of all students through parent engagement in education! We have served and graduated 550,000 low-income parents from our “Parent Engagement in Education Program in California and 5 other states. This has enhanced the education of more than 1.5 million students. In 2006, we signed a historic agreement with Chancellor Charles Reed to serve 30 plus K-12 schools in the 23 California State University campus regions. We will be contacting the Lumina Foundations to discuss the possibility of being invited to submit a joint CSU-PIQE proposal for funding to specifically address the need to promote a college education for all low-income students as sited in your most recent press release. Please feel free to visit our website and contact me if you have any questions or advice.

    David Valladolid
    National President & CEO